Feature Image: Now that the Taliban has gained control it faces the huge challenge of running the country
…from NBC News – Richard Engel and Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid
[ Editor’s Note: We have an established trend now that the Taliban it not winging in on their post collapse media handling, showing that they have anticipated some of the things that would be said about them and have been preparing the answers.
There is the old American saying that ‘talk is cheap’, but my gut feel is that the Taliban knows it has an uphill battle in terms of credibility and should not want to stumble right at the beginning of their yet to be formed government.
That in itself might be game playing, as I can’t imagine that during the past year they have not been working all of those government formation details out. I suspect that they are waiting for the right moment, an historic one, like when the last American leaves. The date will become part of their history.
As for the refugees, that is another story. Expect endless family chains to appear once the actual US visa holding people come out.
The Taliban’s consistent line is that they do not want all of their professionally trained people to leave, and hence it would be stupid to do anything to them in terms of threats and punishments.
But what he does not understand is they will all want the opportunities in the West, particularly the spectacular social benefits waiting for them in the West, and especially the US where refugees can instantly be enjoying a more affluent lifestyle that Americans on the bottom here.
If most of the government workers bail out they will have to import replacements. They have said they will prevent no one from leaving. We shall see. If it is not true, they will not be the first government to change its mind on something.
And lastly, the idea of any reprisals going on is crazy while the Taliban critically needs to have recognition, funding, establish embassies, which by the way are not cheap to do. It’s main security concery are the anti-Taliban rebels, and they already have the surrounded and all supplies cut off.
I sense one of the well heeled Muslim countries, or several, will have to pony up the money, and they will not be doing it for free. We hear that the UAE is covering the tab now. Maybe it will become the one wanting to asset strip Afghanistan, having learned the art from Westerners… Jim W. Dean]
First aired … August 25, 2021
In an exclusive interview, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sat down with NBC News’ Richard Engel in Kabul and said:
“There was no proof [Osama Bin Laden] was involved” in the 9/11 attacks, adding: “There is no evidence even after 20 years of war, we have no proof he was involved… There was no justification for this war. It was excuse for war.”
Asked about the U.S.’s withdrawal after 20 years, Mujahid said:
“The withdrawal is almost finished. These are our happiest moments.”
On reports of Taliban fighters taking unmarried women as forced brides, Mujahid said:
“This is propaganda from the old regime. We have no evidence of a single case.” He adds that Afghan women “are our sisters. We must show them respect. They should not be frightened. The Taliban are humans and from this country. They have fought for their country. Women should be proud of us, not scared.”
RICHARD ENGEL: The United States is evacuating and it is taking out Americans who worked with U.S. forces but not everyone is going to be able to make it out. Will you let those people leave in the future? Can you guarantee their safety?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: We don’t want our countrymen to go to America. Whatever they have done in the past, we have given them amnesty, we need young, educated professionals for our nation. But If they want to leave, it’s their choice.
RICHARD ENGEL: What would you say to women, Afghan women who are terrified?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: They are our sisters. We must show them respect. They should not be frightened. The Taliban are humans and from this country. They have fought for their country. Women should be proud of us, not scared.
RICHARD ENGEL: There are already reports of Taliban fighters taking young women, unmarried women as brides, forced brides. There have been reports of people going into homes.
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: This is propaganda from the old regime. We have no evidence of a single case.
RICHARD ENGEL: This war started when Osama Bin Laden, the guest of the Taliban, organized 9/11 attacks. Can you guarantee that this country will never again be a base for terrorism?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: When Osama Bin Laden became an issue for the Americans he was in Afghanistan. Although there was no proof he was involved, now we have given promises that Afghan soil won’t be used against anyone.
RICHARD ENGEL: You still don’t think that Osama Bin Laden carried out 9/11?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: There is no evidence even after 20 years of war, we have no proof he was involved.
RICHARD ENGEL: So it sounds like even now after all of this, you’re accepting no responsibility?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: There was no justification for this war. It was excuse for war.
RICHARD ENGEL: How are you feeling right now after 20 years and the Americans are leaving?
TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: The withdrawal is almost finished. These are our happiest moments.